Working Like a Dog Has Never Been So Much Fun
By VICTORIA HEUER
Every morning it’s the same: you look into your baby’s big trusting eyes, and say, "I’m sorry, Mommy/Daddy has to go to work now. But we’ll go for a big walk when I get home — I promise! And we’ll have cookies, too!" Then off you go to the big working world, wishing you didn’t have to leave your puppy alone all day. (Yes, they will always be our puppies, no matter how big they get.)
But the long-awaited day when you won’t have to do that is almost here (boss willing). The annual Pet Sitters International Take Your Dog to Work Day, always held on a Friday in June, is nearly here. While some companies offer a simple day of allowing employees to bring their dogs along to the office, others make a grand day of it, holding charity auctions of pet-friendly products (perhaps donated by your local pet supply store), and fundraisers for rescue groups and pets in need. Some even host costume and "best picture" contests.
2009 marks the 11th Take Your Dog to Work Day since it was first instituted in the United States in 1999 by its creators, Pet Sitters International, an educational association for professional pet sitters. What began as a small contingent of about 300 companies has grown over the years: by 2003, over 5,000 companies had joined in the fun. The day began as — and continues to be — a celebration of the presence of dogs in our lives, as well as a way to promote adoption and improve the lives of shelter dogs.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind before suiting and leashing up.
- Your dog must have his vaccinations up to date and be potty trained. No ifs, ands, or buts. I mean, would you like a smelly present next to your cubicle?
- Is Fido well behaved? Does he jump on people uninvited? If the answer to the last question is yes, better leave him at home. You can bring him next year once he's learned some manners.
- Unless it is agreed upon to allow the dogs free run of the office for the day, even civil pups should be kept on a leash throughout the day.
- Make plans ahead of time for scheduled outings and meals.
- Just as you consider your appearance and odor before you leave for work, you will want to take a good look at your dog before heading off to the office. Make sure she smells clean, has her teeth brushed, and is tidied for meeting new friends. You may also want to go over her with a comb to minimize shedding.
- If you bring treats, bring enough for all so that there will not be any resentment or competition from the other dogs. Do, however, ask your co-workers before giving treats to their dogs, in case there are allergies or diets to consider.
- And speaking of allergies, do keep in mind that some people are allergic to animals. You may need to keep your dog at a comfortable distance from coworkers with sensitivity issues.
- Another consideration is that some people are fearful, or just not comfortable with dogs. Again, you might be able to compromise by keeping your dog at a safe distance from coworkers who feel this way.
- Take along your dog’s favorite blanket or comfort toy, and create a small space, if possible, where your dog can nest if he is feeling overwhelmed.
- Make sure that electrical wires are out of the way to prevent chewing accidents. Any questionable plants or office materials (e.g., ink, glue, etc.) should be kept out of reach as well.
- Don’t forget the clean-up baggies (for outdoors) — and probably even cleaning spray (for indoors). You won’t want to leave behind any messes on company property that people might step into inadvertently or smells that will linger.
If you don't have a dog of your own and are considering whether you want a dog in your life, consider this: People with dog companions have been shown to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol counts, fewer stress disorders and higher satisfaction with life, reduced feelings of loneliness, a feeling of being needed, lessened depression, higher self-esteem and better learning for children who own pets, and better physical health due to increased activity.
For more ideas on how to celebrate this special day, and to learn more about the history and work of Pet Sitters International, visit their site at www.takeyourdog.com.